What an offseason it’s been for the AFC West. Through the additions of Russell Wilson to the Broncos and Davante Adams to the Raiders, the AFC West seems to be by far the toughest division in football, with four conceivable champions. So how have oddsmakers set the odds to win the AFC West?
AFC West division odds for 2022
The odds are extraordinarily tight here, with no team having minus odds and no team having odds greater than +700, making this one a tight race. So let’s dig into each team’s odds and see how things could shake out. Please note that these odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (+175)
It may not be much of a surprise that the Chiefs have the best odds of winning the AFC West, but the gap between Kansas City and the competition is getting more narrow. For the first time in a while, it feels like the Chiefs may have gotten a little bit worse, while all of their division rivals have seemingly gotten markedly better.
With Patrick Mahomes, they will always be a threat, but the loss of Mahomes’ favorite deep threat Tyreek Hill certainly looms large over their preseason outlook. The front office has done its best to compensate for the loss, adding JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency and selecting speedy receiver Skyy Moore in the second round of April’s draft
After a disappointing collapse in the AFC Championship, Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Andy Reid, and Co. will certainly be motivated to make it back to the big game for the third time in four years.
2. Los Angeles Chargers (+240)
In Brandon Staley’s first year as head coach, the Los Angeles Chargers were a favorite sleeper pick of football nerds to make a deep run. Guided by second-year star QB Justin Herbert, the Bolts narrowly failed to make the playoffs down the stretch, despite having a better point differential than the Wild Card-winning Steelers and Ravens.
This year, they will look to right that ship after shoring up their defense through a series of major upgrades. Khalil Mack was added from Chicago in an offseason trade and New England Patriots’ star Corner J.C. Jackson was signed via free agency. These talents added to Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Asante Samuel Jr. should help turn this defensive unit around after injuries derailed them last season.
With Herbert already being a superstar in just his second season, the Chargers should be perfectly primed to have a contender this year.
3. Denver Broncos (+260)
Arguably the biggest transaction in an offseason full of shocking moves was the Broncos’ acquisition of Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. Upgrading from Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock to a Super Bowl-winning quarterback certainly had Denver’s odds skyrocketing across the board of many sportsbooks in Colorado.
And it makes sense — with arguably the worst quarterback room in the NFL, the Broncos were still a respectable 7-10. With new head coach Nathaniel Hackett ready to build a cohesive offensive scheme around Wilson and young playmakers like running back Javonte Williams and wide receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick, the Broncos are looking to rebound offensively after only scoring 19.7 points per game in 2021.
With the upgrade at quarterback and play-caller, the Broncos are poised to make a major leap and contend for the AFC West crown this season.
4. Las Vegas Raiders (+700)
This is a bit of a curious case. The Raiders finished second in the AFC West division and made the playoffs last season. Then, they followed that up by adding Chandler Jones and perhaps the best wide receiver in all of football in Davante Adams. This is in addition to hiring Bill Belichick’s disciple Josh McDaniels to run the show. So why have they dropped to last in the bookmakers’ eyes?
Well, there was always an air of skepticism around the team last season. After the Jon Gruden fiasco, the Raiders banded together under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and scrapped their way into the Wild Card Round. However, many in the media still viewed them as a beneficiary of bad injury luck and choke jobs from the Chargers and Indianapolis Colts, respectively, instead of seeing them as succeeding on their own merit. This, of course, overlooks the fact that the Raiders beat the Chargers in Week 18 to secure their spot.
Still, the Raiders did skate into the playoffs with a -65 point differential (worst among all playoff teams). Therefore, some luck regression will play a role in whether or not they can match or top last season’s performance despite the big-name upgrades made on both sides of the ball.
Still, given the odds, the Raiders might just be the best value play in the AFC West.